Steve Jobs return as the face of Apple yesterday was immediately followed by an interview with Tech Guru David Pogue of the New York Times. A lot of the conversation focused on cameras, like why the iPod nano got one and the iPod touch did not.
It turns out Apple had no idea how to market the iPod touch — imagine that! Vacillating between concepts such as an “iPhone without the phone” and a pocket computer that actually fits in a pocket, touch users had to help the company that is arguably the most adept at advertising in the world figure out what to do. “What happened was, what customers told us was, they started to see it as a game machine,” Jobs said. From there, a multiplicity of game screenshots drove advertising and “it just took off.”
Completely coincidentally, this also made it unnecessary for Apple “to add new stuff,” like a camera, or a compass, or GPS. Instead, as Phil Schiller said during the Apple Event yesterday, “at just $199 the iPod touch is the most affordable gateway drug to Apple’s revolutionary App Store.” Jobs echoed those comments in the interview, saying that what “we were focused on is just reducing the price to $199.” So, it’s not about artificial product segmentation at all. Glad we cleared that up.
More realistic was Jobs’ response to the lack of photo capability in the video camera on the iPod nano. Apparently, the sensors for video are thin enough to fit in the nano, but the technology for pictures is not. Personally, I find this a little curious, as I often export still images from videos I have taken using QuickTime. At the very least, some kind of built-in workaround like that could have been included with the new nano.
The other topic covered during the interview, and one that will have message boards buzzing, concerned e-readers. Pogue asked Jobs if his dismissive attitude towards the devices had changed since the appearance of the Kindle. Jobs noted that digital books aren’t big sellers, then tossed the tablet fanatics some red meat, stating that “I think people just probably aren’t willing to pay for a dedicated device.”
If that wasn’t an oblique confirmation of the Apple iTablet, this response regarding future products being delayed because of Jobs’ absence is likely as close as we will get before the mythical device is unveiled.
“There are some things that I’m focusing a lot of attention on right now—to polish,” he said. “No, I don’t think we’re going to miss a beat. We have some really good stuff coming up.”
And this is why I love Steve Jobs being vertical again.